The First Review of My First Indie Theater Production in 2014

Behind My Enemy’s Eyes, at La Nuit Comedy Theater

Well past my word count, and I haven’t written a single word about Behind My Enemy’s Eyes, the truest explication I’ve seen in ages, outside of Fringe Fest, of the value of DIY vanities. Maybe it’s just as well. As this was offered for only two nights at La Nuit (still the worst venue in town for anything not stand-up), writer/director Jessica Bordelon’s pungent slice about the horrors of war – Afghanistan here; more even than Iraq, a lethal exercise in pointlessness – must be heading back to the workroom. I hope so, anyway. I want to see it again.

Given the limitations of the stage and the budget, Eyes was rudimentary but startlingly effective. Committed actors (Jacob Miller, Frank Isom, Monique Pyle, Franz Espinoza, Cameron Zarbakhsh, and Robert Jones) and an outstanding sound design by Dolan Hartley help – the opening exchange of machine gun fire was actually frightening – together creating a nearly complete world despite only a café table, a camp cot, and laughably flimsy prison bars for a set on a creaky platform in an unlightable room.

The premise: Three soldiers of varying levels of resoluteness and experience guard two Afghan prisoners who must be persuaded to talk. Things go wrong, leading to several deaths.

The dialogue is plain but not trite, at times nearing the bluntness of a bulletin. (A few late voiceovers should be cut.) Bordelon’s POV is neither clichéd nor viable in any commercial setting I can imagine. But even in crude circumstances, her themes get through: Seeing things from the perspective of the Other isn’t always for the best; hubristic kindness can produce results more terrible than mulish self-interest.

Shows like this, exciting if not great, do fulfill my first purpose in attending the theatre – to see some part of the world in a new way – and exist only because their makers make them exist. More, please.


Behind My Enemy’s Eyes, at La Nuit Comedy Theater

This article was updated on July 22 at 11:15 a.m.

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